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February 5, 2018 2:23 pm

Jordan to Renew Passports for Palestinians in Jerusalem?

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Jordanian King Abdullah II. Photo: Reuters / Kayhan Ozer / Pool.

The below is from a very strange story in Medium bDaoud Kuttab:

A decision by the Jordanian government to open administrative offices in Jerusalem that will allow residents of the holy city to renew their documents including their passports has been well received by Jerusalem’s Palestinians who hold Jordanian travel documents.

Palestinians living in Jerusalem are considered residents of the city yet they are not citizens of any state. They are neither citizens of Palestine, Israel nor Jordan, but are allowed to carry Jordanian travel documents. In the past, Palestinians in Jerusalem needing to renew a travel document or file a birth or marriage certificate had to travel across the King Hussein Bridge to Jordanian Interior Ministry offices in Amman. Israeli-issued permits to exit across the bridge (costing NIS 230) and an exit tax (around NIS 180) amount to around $120 per person. The fee for a passport is JD200 ($282). Some of these costly fees can be removed or reduced simply by bureaucratic decisions of the various parties responsible for the bridge crossings.

Fawaz Shahwan, head of the Civil Affairs Department at the Interior Ministry, said on Jordanian state television on January 22 that Jerusalemites will soon be able to process personal documents without having to travel to Jordan to do so.

Shahwan described the change in Jordanian policy “as part of King Abdullah’s interest in Jerusalem’s holy places and the people of Jerusalem, these services are being made to help strengthen the steadfastness of the people of Jerusalem in their city”.

Kuttab adds in Al-Monitor that “Jordanian officials plan to open offices in Jerusalem as part of the Jordanian Waqf.”

Israel doesn’t allow any Palestinian government offices in Jerusalem, so it seems odd that it might allow this administrative part of Jordan’s government to operate there — especially as part of the Waqf, which is a religious institution.

There is a Jordanian liaison office in Ramallah, and I’m not sure why that cannot be the place to renew passports. It would be interesting to see an official Israeli reaction to this story.

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